IT seems Keir Starmer is a socialist now, and I'm the Dalai Lama.

Just a few short weeks ago Starmer was praising Margaret Thatcher and telling us that he didn't mind being called a conservative. Starmer said Thatcher had brought "meaningful change" to the UK and applauded her for "setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism".

It was only just before the General Election was called that he gave a fulsome welcome into the Labour party to hard-right Tory MP Natalie Elphicke and said that she represented the values of his Labour party.

But Starmer still wants us to believe he's a socialist.

The National: Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, sits with new Labour MP Natalie Elphicke, during a visit to Dover, Kent, to set out his party's plans to tackle the small boats crisis if it wins the general election, with a pledge to end the Conservative

He is a socialist in the exact same way that a bald late-middle-aged man with four kids to two different women, three failed marriages, a repeat prescription for Viagra, and a subscription to a Thai mail order brides website is a virgin. It may once have been true a very long time ago when he still had hair, but it hasn't been the case for decades.

If Starmer is a socialist, the word has lost all meaning.

Socialists do not believe in kissing up to big business and refusing to consider raising taxes on the wealthiest. Socialists do not believe in “stopping the boats” or knighthoods and the continuing existence of an unelected House of Lords.

READ MORE: Labour leader Keir Starmer: I don't care if I sound conservative

Socialists do not claim that their party is the party of business. Socialists most certainly do not believe in expanding private sector involvement in the NHS, or refusing to abolish the abhorrent two-child cap on benefits.

Keir Starmer is not a socialist, he's a political opportunist who will glibly make contradictory claims to different audiences in the hope of getting himself into power.

Socialists have political principles, Starmer has none.

Are the Scottish Tories right for once?

Calling on voters to use the General Election to deliver a "fatal blow" to the SNP, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: "The election in Scotland is different and why it really matters. Because we have allowed a nationalist minority to hold back our country for far too long."

Well quite, Douglas. That nationalist minority would be the hard-right Anglo-British nationalists of the Conservative party, who have imposed their extremist policies on Scotland despite not having won an election in Scotland since the 1950s.

The Tories have given us Brexit, austerity, foodbanks, and made homeless people begging on the streets of our towns and cities a common sight. If that is not "holding our country back", I really don't know what is.

The National: Douglas Ross delivering a speech in Perth today

Ross added: "In this election, the opportunity is there to finally end their independence demands for good. For more than a decade, ever since that ‘once-in-a-generation’ referendum, the SNP have focused only on independence at the expense of everything else."

If Ross thinks that the SNP doing poorly in this upcoming election will end independence demands for good, he's in for a very big disappointment.

Demands for independence are not driven by the SNP, they are driven by the repeated and continual failures of the Conservative and Labour parties to implement real and meaningful change in the UK.

It is driven by the Unionists’ failure to do anything to bridge the yawning chasm between the haves and the have-nots – and to make the sclerotic and undemocratic Westminster Parliament into a properly representative democratic institution which has the real ability to hold the Prime Minister to account.

The demand for Scottish independence is not going away.

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

To receive our full newsletter including this analysis straight to your email inbox, click HERE and click the "+" sign-up symbol for the REAL Scottish Politics